A few months before “Uncle Milt” passed away, he granted an interview with the WSJ’s ever-excellent Tunku Varadarajan.. While the interview overall is pretty short, there are a couple good India nuggets –
India–how do you assess its prospects?
Friedman: Fifty years ago, as a consultant to the Indian minister of finance, I wrote a memo in which I said that India had a great potential but was stagnating because of collectivist economic policies. India has finally started to disband those collectivist policies and is reaping its reward. If they can continue dismantling the collectivist policies, their prospects are very bright.
Any thoughts on a China versus India comparison?
Friedman: Yes. Note the contrast. China has maintained political and human collectivism while gradually freeing the economic market. This has so far been very successful but is heading for a clash, since economic freedom and political collectivism are not compatible. India maintained political democracy while running a collectivist economy. It is now unwinding the latter, which will strengthen freedom of all kinds, so in that respect it is in a better position than China.
p>Color me cautiously optimistic. While in the long run I tend to agree with Mr. Friedman that political freedom and economic freedom go hand in hand, in the short term, there’s no shortage of demagoguery that readily attacks both.
Previous SM coverage on Friedman and India here.